93 blasts: Tiger Memon's aide sentenced to death
Mumbai, July 25: The designated TADA court here today handed down the death penalty to Farooq Pawle for planting bombs near the Shiv Sena Bhavan at Dadar and the Air India building at Nariman Point in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts, that left 24 people dead and 79 injured.
He was earlier found guilty by the Court on October 9 last year.
Pawle, who faced 24 charges in the trial, more than any of the other 100 convicts, has also been directed to pay a fine of Rs 2,65.000.
While pronouning the capital punishment to Pawle, a close lieutenant of prime absconding accused Tiger Memon, designated TADA Judge P D Khode held that Pawle's case fell in the category of rarest of rare cases, and hence he deserved the death penalty on five counts as well as life imprisonment on two counts.
All these sentences are to be run concurrently, the court held.
Judge P D Kode in his verdict also observed that by God's grace there was no petrol at the petrol pump when the blast took place. It may be recalled here that four persons had died and 50 others injured in the blast that occured at Lucky petrol pump, adjacent to the Shiv Sena Bhavan. All the victims were residents of the neighbouring chawl. Property worth Rs 21 lakh was also damaged here.
However, a major catastrophe was averted as there was no supply of petrol on that fateful day.
Besides, in the blast at the Air India building, Pawle had parked a white colour Ambassador car laden with the deadly RDX, which resulted in the death of 20 persons besides seriously injuring 84 other victims. Property worth Rs 2 crore was also damaged here.
Pawle had also surveyed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building, which was also targetted by the bombers, a day prior to the blast.
This blast, the second biggest after the Century Bazar blasts, had claimed over 75 human lives. However, the accused involved in this blast are still absconding.
With the pronouncement of the sentences today, the court has so far awarded capital punishment upon eleven convicts and life imprisonment upon 17 others. Stoutly-built and wheatish complexioned Pawle, who has been undergoing psychiatric treatment for the past one-and-half years, was escorted into the courtroom by two policemen and, immediately upon entering the room, he slumped on the bench. After pronouncing the sentence, Judge Kode instructed lawyers to explain the implications of the sentence to him properly.
It was the statement of the the second approver in the case, which had sealed Pawle's fate. While deposing before the court, the approver had delivered evidence stating that he had indeed accompanied Pawle at the time of survey of the petrol pump. He was also identifed by the securityguard of the stock exchange, who had deposed before the court that one day prior to the blast, he had a heated exchange with the convict over parking of a vehicle.
Besides planting of bombs, Pawle was also held guilty of participating in the landing of arms and explosives at Shekhadi, for visiting Pakistan to receive weapons training, for attending conspiratoral meeting, and for actually filling RDX in vehicles at the Al Husseni building.
He was charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, TADA Act, Explosive Substances Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
The court has so far pronounced sentences upon 92 of the 100 convicts. The fate of eight others, who include four members of the Tiger Memon family and cinestar Sanjay Dutt, is expected to become known on July 27.
Meanwhile, chief public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam informed the court that he had been threatened by three convicts, who were sentenced to death yesterday. He told the court that he had lodged a complaint with the N M Joshi Marg police in this regard.